Jobs for Ham Radio Operators (What You Need to Know!)

Many people new to Ham radio often question its value beyond being a Hobby.

They often ask about the “practical applications” of Ham radio.

And while most Hams are borderline offended by this question, since for them, the most practical application of Ham radio is that it brings them joy, I believe you should know what Ham radio expertise and license can offer beyond joy.

So, in this article, I’ll talk about jobs for Ham radio operators and other questions that often surround this topic.

But first, since many people believe Ham radio is mostly dead, let me address an important question.

Jobs for Ham Radio Operators

There are many jobs for Ham radio operators, mostly in the field of RF engineering, radio, computer technology. While there are times when a Ham radio license can be a requirement when applying for these jobs, having one can most likely give you an advantage against your job competitors. 

Do Ham Radio Operators Still Exist?

Yes. Ham radio operators still exist as we move through the first quarter of the 21st century

There are more than 3 million licensed Ham radio operators worldwide, while the US contributes the largest to this number with around 750,000 licensed radio amateurs.

This significant number is a clear indicator of the fact that the ham radio operator’s community does not only exist. It thrives.

Every year, more and more young and not-so-young new Hams get licensed and enter the field.

And in this way, the hobby continues to live, courtesy of its passionate community.

Ham Radio License = Job Search Advantage?

A Ham radio license lets you get on the air and connect with other Hams. But that’s not the only door it unlocks.

A Ham radio license can also help you ace your job interviews when interviewing for jobs in the RF, electronics, or relevant fields.

While the license itself is not a job-winning tool, putting your Ham radio licensure on your resume might get you noticed by the hiring manager and give you an edge above your competitors.

A Ham radio license showcases your interest in technology and reflects your passion for electronics.

Moreover, it also works as a proof of your expertise in radio and electronics and can make you the preferred candidate for a job that involves RF and technology.

Having said that, a technician or general class license may help, but passing an extra class exam and putting that on your resume might reinforce your profile as a solid radio expert.

Finally, and most importantly, the people interviewing you for the job in radio-relevant fields might be Hams themselves.

And you know what happens when two Ham radio enthusiasts meet, right?

They hit it off!

So, having a Ham radio license might be a sure-fire way for you to impress the hiring manager or interviewer right off the bat.

Of course, it is critical to note here that there’s a difference between barely having a Ham radio license and actually using it to perfect your radio communication skills.

A license without expertise in Amateur operation might not be as handy as showcasing your license and building on it with practical insights that prove you are genuinely the Ham-enthusiast that the employer is looking for.

What Jobs Can You Do As A Ham Radio Operator?

Apart from enjoying the hobby and serving the community, there are other things that you can do as a Ham.

One of these things includes working the jobs for Ham radio operators.

Most electronic and technology-related vacancies often require experience in integrating and repairing electronic devices. That’s why they may be among the most ideal jobs for Ham radio operators.

Certain software and computer-related jobs also prefer knowledge about computer systems and devices.

Moreover, there are other jobs for Ham radio operators that prioritize applicants with hands-on experience with instruments like network analyzers, oscilloscopes etc.

As a Ham radio operator, you get to take a dip into all of the areas I have mentioned above.

Therefore, there are a lot of jobs for Ham radio operators that you can consider as you look for ways to transform your passion into your profession.

ARRL’s List of Industries Ham Radio Operators Can Work in

The ARRL lists several areas and positions that Ham radio operators might find employment in.

You can work in Consumer Electronics as a sound system designer or audio technician. Your Ham radio expertise might also help you get into the space industry, where you can serve as a satellite designer or radio telescope technician, to name a few.

Broadcast radio and television departments also prefer to hire people with radio expertise, and hence that’s another industry you might be able to get a job in.

The medical industry, specifically the MRI and X-ray departments, also involve using radios and hence often wants Ham radio operators as their technicians.

And if software engineering, signal processing, robotics and the likes are kind of your thing, your Ham radio expertise might help you get in there as well.

An interest in radio communication and technology diversifies the industries you can work in. This is why there are many jobs for Ham radio operators to consider.

However, most of these jobs would require training and qualification other than your Ham radio license and expertise. But Ham radio knowledge may make you the perfect candidate.

Do Ham Radio Operators Get Paid?

Yes, Ham radio operators get paid when working as professional radio technicians or operators in an organization.

However, most Ham radio operators stay “busy” as they practice their hobby and have fun. And they don’t get paid for that.

At least not in money.

Apart from practicing the hobby, Ham radio operators also volunteer their skills and equipment for public service, so they don’t get paid (in money) for that either.

Additionally, since Ham radio is strictly for non-commercial applications, trying to market your business or earn through advertising while transmitting from your shack would be considered illegal.

But, there are other ways you can make money with your Ham radio without breaking the rules, like making and selling Ham radio equipment, becoming a Ham radio tutor, selling a Ham radio online course, etc.

Which Jobs Require Ham Radio Licenses?

Certain jobs prefer to hire licensed Hams, and some job postings list a general class Ham radio license as a requirement.

But these requirements do not always depend on the job post. Instead, they often depend on the employer.

An employer, like GigaParts and ARRl etc., might list Ham radio license as a necessary requirement in their job post if they feel that the right candidate needs to have amateur knowledge.

But more often than not, technical jobs that would require you to work with radios and deal with propagation theory, antennas, and other areas of electronics would require an amateur license.

Ham Radio Jobs Conclusion

Being a Ham radio enthusiast helps you get on air and chat with other like-minded people.

And while that’s enough of value for many people, it is certainly not everything that Ham radio expertise offers.

Your Ham radio expertise and license can also help win jobs for Ham radio operators. Knowing your way around radios can also make you a preferred candidate for jobs that include dealing with radio propagation, building and repairing electronics, etc.

But you may need a license to prove or even develop your Amateur expertise.

So, if you haven’t gotten your Ham radio license yet, take this as a sign to start preparing for one right away!